For first-time litigants without legal representation, the court process can be daunting. That’s why the National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) at Windsor Law organized the first-ever School for Family Litigants. Launched in January, this free 12-week online pilot program is funded by the Department of Justice and provides self-represented litigants the tools to help them navigate the justice system on their own.
When the organizers opened registration in December 2021, the 40 available slots filled in under two hours.
“We were blown away by the incredible response to this program,” said project manager Dayna Cornwall. “Broadening our resources for self-represented litigants in Canada is paramount.”
The program covers the basics of the family law system, legal research tools, procedures around legal paperwork, how to pursue settlement options, getting ready for trial, self-care methods, and tips for managing emotions.
Sessions are led by NSRLP staff and a variety of family law experts, including judge Lloyd Dean of the Ontario Court of Justice. After successful completion of the course, each student will receive a certificate of completion signed by Julie Macfarlane, former Windsor Law professor and founder of NSRLP.
Communications manager Moya McAlister said the demand is so high that the group plans to offer the program again.
“Since this was a successful pilot program, we hope to offer the course again this fall and expand the offerings next year,” she said.